|Jacob & Anne Pope, HLAA's Manhattan|
I visited NYC on a 10th grade class trip and saw the Statute of Liberty and Times Square. This visit, I haven't done much tourist stuff but it is still amazing to be here. On Sunday, I did the Yankees Stadium to Citi Field ride, took me 30 miles to do a complete loop back to the apartment. Everytime I came to a bridge, I got "lost" and had to backtrack in order to actually get ON the bridge.
Wednesday was a pretty cool day because I met Dr. Roland at Bellevue Medical Center. He is an amazing surgeon who specializes in cochlear implants. He knew by name the surgeon that did mine at John Hopkins. He wished me luck.
Later on Wednesday, I attended the Hearing Loss Association of America's Manhattan Chapter meeting. The chapter president, Anne Pope, made me feel comfortable. Most of the people were much older than me, and I was permitted to speak for about 10 minutes, telling everyone about the ride and answering questions.
Author Katherine Bouton also spoke and read from her book Shouting Won't Help: Why I - and 50 Million Other Americans - Can't Hear You. She spoke about the way losing your hearing affects you. When you deny it, or don't become a self-advocate, you become withdrawn and depressed. Employers think that you're not a "team player" because you seem aloof. I could really relate to that. Being quiet and withdrawn is almost my "natural" state. I have to work at confronting my challenges and putting myself out there. I've had bad weeks before, but luckily for me, I can't really call it anxiety or depression.
I have to work to be able to understand and hear. In addition to the extra work of just being able to hear, I also have to speak up when I don't hear something. If I get "lazy", I don't ask for clarification--I stop "working" at my hearing. Next thing you know, I catch myself not being a good person; snapping at a customer or not starting conversations with people I should be having a conversation with. Then I "wake up" and begin working at my hearing again. It was good to listen to a talented writer about these issues that in one way or another effect everyone with a hearing loss.
Yesterday, I rode 101 miles to the end of Long Island.